Saturday, October 16, 2010

You can stop yelling at your children

Once upon a time, I was a mom who yelled at her children.

Why do we yell at our children? You might say "because my children are misbehaving" or "because I lack self-control" or maybe even "because I don't know what else to do."  Why did I yell at my children?  I yelled because I was exhausted and couldn't see a way out of my exhaustion.  I yelled because I was frustrated that life didn't look like my mental image.  I yelled because at our weakest moments we fall back on how we ourselves were parented.  I yelled because my expectations weren't being met.  I yelled because my needs were not being met.  In retrospect I know that the yelling was not because of my children.  My children did not make me yell.  It was all about me: my issues and baggage, my lack of resources, knowledge, support and sleep.

I went from yelling to not yelling, from conflict to peace, from feeling like a crappy parent to feeling like a competent parent, most of the time.  While writing this I realized that there are answers to how I stopped yelling in my previous blog posts.  Here are some ideas on how to stop yelling, with links for further reading.

Focus on relationships. 
Nothing is more important than your relationship with your children, not clean bedrooms, not homework, not bedtimes.

Practice unconditional parenting.  Your children do not need to do anything to earn your love, your help, or your approval.  Your children are perfect just the way they are.  Read "Tolerance vs. Acceptance" to understand how important it is to accept our children for who they are.

In "Conflict or Connection" I wrote about how we as parents can be the cause of conflict in our relationship with our children.

View yourself as a support person, a facilitator, for your child.  You are exploring life together.  In "Saying 'yes'" and "Supporting Our Children's Passions" I describe two very different ways we have supported and facilitated for our children.

My summary "How we live at our house" explains the principles we try to live by in our family that focus on our relationships.
"A Family of Connected Individuals" discusses the balance of creating space for each individual while living as a family.

In "...and my husband" I expand on the idea of relationships to include the people with whom we co-parent.  Nothing more important than our relationship with our family.

Let go of your expectations
Remembering that your expectations are just that, your expectations.  It is not up to your children to meet your expectations.

I blogged about expectations and acceptance of life when it turns out differently than we expected in my blog post "fighting what is."

I blogged about how other people's expectations can affect my relationship with my children Here.

Meet needs.
Validating the needs of each family member and collaborative problem solving to meet them are vital to a connected, non-yelling, family.  I wrote about meeting children's needs as the "easy button of parenting" Here.

Further ideas on identifying needs were written Here.

My experience with getting my own needs met is described in my blog post "Personal Lack."

You can stop yelling at your children.  Start by focusing on your relationships, letting go of your expectations and meeting the needs of each family member.

UPDATE: At least one reader felt that this post was trite and superficial. In response to their concerns I wrote another blog post about Triggers and how to remove the triggers that cause us to yell at our children.  You will find that blog post Here.


  1. Excellent observations & insight, Jenna -> what's going on within me that is influencing how I'm behaving with my children. The trick is taking the breath before the action to do that self-check. I really like what you wrote!